Bloomington hotel tax revenue set to rise 94%

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (WMBD) — Visitors are returning to area hotels for work, leisure and travel and it’s impacting the local economy.

On Monday evening, during the first reading of next fiscal year’s budget, City of Bloomington staff projected a 94% increase in hotel and motel tax revenue.

Construction jobs in the area thanks to the expansion of companies like Rivian and Ferrero as well as the return of events that attract city dwellers are helping Bloomington hotels return to pre-pandemic numbers.

The city projects $1.75 million in hotel sales tax revenue for the city of Bloomington in fiscal year 2023. Funds raised from hotel stays go to the city’s general fund. The general fund pays for service equipment, materials, and personnel contracts, to name a few.

“These are funds that we use to fund essential services throughout our community, things that people rely on every day,” Deputy City Manager Billy Tyus said.

Tyus said more people working in the area on construction as well as hiring at big companies are setting up hotels to be successful.

“They also bring people to visit and visit, they also stay at our hotels,” Tyus said.

Tyus said busy hotels speak volumes about how people view the Bloomington-Normal community.

“The fact that people are staying in our hotels and filling our hotels is an indicator of where we stand as a community. It says people see us and people want to be here,” Tyus said.

It’s not just work; the return of events bringing in city dwellers for the weekend also needing a place to stay.

“Certainly in the last 4-6 months we are getting a bit closer to where we were in 2019 before the pandemic hit,” said Matt Hawkins of Visit BN.

Hawkins, director of sports and market development at the region’s Convention and Visitors Bureau, said the IHSA dance competition over the next two weekends will bring thousands to Bloomington-Normal.

“With the two events combined, approximately $1.5 million in economic impact, so we’re certainly excited about these events,” Hawkins said.

City budget figures are not finalized but will be voted on in the coming months.

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